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Brennan Center

Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the world.

The Brennan Center for Justice recently put out a report on the effect of imprisonment on crime. Lauren-Brooke Eisen, one of the authors of the report, walks through some of the findings.


With so much current focus on the state budget, the term “statutory dedications” keeps coming up. What are they and why are they an issue? We turn to Louisiana Treasurer John Kennedy for answers.

“We have about 370 special accounts into which money automatically flows, because the Legislature has dedicated it,” Kennedy says, by way of introduction.

 “I don’t want to subject my son to an environment of testing that I know has nothing to do with learning.”

So says James Kirylo, father of Antonio, a third-grader attending public school in Tangipahoa Parish. Kirylo is also a professor of education at Southeastern Louisiana University, and is one of dozens of parents around the state who are opting their children out of standardized testing this spring. Kirylo admits his reason is different than most.

Louisiana’s congressional delegation — most notably former U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu — has fought for coastal restoration funding for years. And it’s just about to pay off big.

“In November of 2017, approximately $170-million is to be made available to the state — $140-million of which comes to the CPRA,” explains Kyle Graham, with Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. The source of the funds is a federal program known as GOMESA.

There were four suspects in the rape of Lindy Simpson, a crime that occurred directly on top of the sidewalk of Piney Creek Road ... It was a crime impossible during daylight, when we neighborhood kids would have been tearing around in go-karts, coloring chalk figures on our driveways, or chasing snake down into storm gutters. But at night, the streets of Woodland Hills sat empty and quiet, except for the pleasure of frogs greeting the mosquitoes that rose in squadrons from the swamps behind our properties.

— That’s how “My Sunshine Away”, the debut novel from M.O. Walsh, begins.

It’s a suspense and a coming of age story set in an idyllic suburban neighborhood unsettled when a teenage girl — the narrator’s boyhood crush — is attacked.

Specifically, the novel is set in Baton Rouge. That’s where M.O. Walsh is from, but he now lives in New Orleans where he’s the director of the Creative Writing Workshop at UNO.


State officials have been burning up the phone lines between Baton Rouge and New York City this week, trying to stave off the threatened downgrade of Louisiana’s credit rating. State Treasurer John Kennedy says it’s been intense.

“We’re in trouble. I don’t want to overstate that, but I don’t want to sugarcoat it, either,” Kennedy says. “We’re in trouble with two of the three rating agencies. Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s have told us unless we get our fiscal affairs in order, they’re going to downgrade us.”


While Oakland, California-based musician Fantastic Negrito has been declared winner of NPR's Tiny Desk contest, we wanted to take a moment to shine a light on all of the entries that came out of the Baton Rouge area.

Statewide elected officials believe the Jindal administration’s budget ax must have become dull from overuse, since the latest round of proposed cuts are far from even.

“The cuts seem to be disproportionate,” Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne observes.


Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain says the mid-year budget cuts proposed last week by the Jindal administration could end up costing you more at the grocery store and elsewhere.

“You know, if we downsize in meat inspection, that means plants will close,” Strain warns. And meat prices will go up.

The Department of Agriculture has been told to cut $2.6-million from its spending between now and June 30, and Strain says that means he will have no choice but to reduce the number of inspectors his department employs.

When Earl K. Long Hospital closed nearly two years ago, LSU’s private partner in Baton Rouge — Our Lady of the Lake — took over patient care, but refused to take care of inmates. That meant a whole lot of scrambling for Angola Warden Burl Cain.


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